AirBnB has already cornered the market on living like a local in terms of accommodation. Thanks to them, renting a loft in NYC for the night has become the norm. But how local can you go? There has been a recent new crop of AirBnB-esque sites offering other amenities to round out that local vibe experience. Here are three of my favorites.
With more than 1,200 things to do in more than 20 countries world wide, this new platform takes 'living like a local' very literally by offering food & local experiences ranging from at-home dinners to private garden tours and to personal tuk tuk guides by passionate hosts. Withlocals.com is specialized in South-East Asia however has recently begun expanding into some of our favorite European destinations such as Prague, Athens, Brussels, and Berlin.
For those of us who love to travel with our furry friends (guilty as charged), finding a local dog-sitter can be a real kopfschmerz. Especially finding one that you can trust. PawShake is here to help. Search by sitter and by service type -- including anything from daycare, overnight stays, dog walks, or just house visits -- and then browse throught a plethora of vetted sitters for dogs and cats through a well though-out order process that will let you enjoy a night out, or two, while your loved one is safe and sound. Purrr....
It's hard enough to find a good home cleaning service in your local area -- never mind when you are visiting another city for an extended period of time. Handy connects individuals looking for top-quality, pre-screened independent professionals in home cleaning and house repair services. The booking process only takes a minute, and you'll be able to browse and access a broad selection of professionals in Canada, the US and the UK. But for all of you NYC'ers, their home cleaning NYC offering is unsurpassed.
One of the oldest Port labels founded in the Douru Valley in 1790, the Sandemann finally opened a restaurant and Port Wine bar in the heart of the Chiado district of Lisbon in 2016. This resto is firmly for staunch Port Wine fans, as every single item on the menu includes this fortified wine as a key ingredient -- even desserts. The meals are mostly tapas and so are packed with taste, it's the perfect place for a wine pit stop where you can calmly sip Port Wine and enjoy the dark, sleek setting of a former cave.
The Sandeman Chiado
Largo Raphael Bordalo Pinheiro Nº 27 e 28
937 850 068
I must confess, shamelessly, that my dog is with me 99% of the day (even in the bathroom... I know, it's bad). But even still, I get paranoid that -- Heaven forbid -- we may get separated and that I have no idea what he is up to. Did he chase a squirrel? Did he he make his afternoon poop? Is he wearing a bowtie?
The WonderWoof bowtie for dogs not only tracks your dog's every move, it also provides a map-enabled social network, so you can meet up with other dogs (and owners!) for playdates and more. The WonderWoof is 100% waterproof, compatible with any mobile device, designed for any dog size or breed, and comes in 6 snazzy colors.
WONDER WOOF BOWTIE FOR DOGS
L 2.36” W 0.79” H 1.26”
Available at: fab.com
We were in the mood for a bar that felt like hanging out at home -- except that it would not actually be like hanging out at home. Luckily we found Apartment 200. Bearing the same name as the ultra hip residence-lounge-club in Montreal, TO's version inhabits the former Wicked bar which was a long-time fixture of the Queen West scene.
After climbing a graffitied staircase, you arrive at an open loft space with exposed brick walls, vintage sofas, gilt mirrors, high-top tables, a pool table, and a large central bar. The graffiti theme reappears in the bathroom, giving you lots of stuff to read. You then proceed to a living room section in the back that, as it turns out, transforms into a bottle-service area during the later hours, with a full DJ table and a sexy crowd that happily grinds away until it's time to go home. Luckily after 10pm, a grilled-cheese bar opens up in the front to keep that blood alcohol level in check.
1034 Queen Street West
Hours: 7pm - 2.30am
Chapitô is non-profit and non-governmental organization for development, promoting professional training in the performing arts, including their well-known Circus school. Located just below the walls of the São Jorge Castelo, Chapitô is like a mini-village of terraces and restaurants each offering different vantage points of the stunning view of the Tagus river.
You first enter via their gift shop displaying some creative artifacts made by local students. Walk down to the first level and make a pit stop at their sangria bar serving the most delicious sangria in all of Lisbon. Down another flight of stairs you arrive at another terrace and cafe where you can sip drinks next to their orange tree and look at the stars twinkle above you. Farther on there is a small two-level house with two different restaurants, one more casual at ground level with the formal dining area above. The latter is offers some of the most breath-taking views of the city and offers amazing fare to boot.
Costa do Castelo 7
1100 Lisboa, Portugal
+351 21 885 5550
A lay-over at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport has just gotten a lot more fun. Spending the night at citizenM is like hanging out at home, assuming your home has been crafted by super cool Amsterdam-based design house, Concrete. The open concept main lobby area is divided into different spaces where you can either work, play, read, watch tv, or hang at the bar. At night they offer a delicious three course buffet for only €25, and ditto for breakfast for only €17. The rooms are small but efficient with a wall-to-wall King size bed, an igloo style shower & bathroom with 'mood' lighting, high pressure rain shower, and an iPad that controls anything and everything including lighting, tv, alarm, and music vibe. The best part is that this hip hotel will not break the bank.
citizenM Paris Charles de Gaulle
7 rue de Rome
93290 Tremblay-en-France Roissypole
Starting at €88 / night
The idea behind Taberna Modern is all about sharing -- both dishes, and a fusion of Portuguese and Spanish cuisine. Each dish is designed to be shared between 2 people and with about 30 dishes on the menu, it's really hard to choose. Set in a traditional 'Lisbon' old tavern, the restaurant is modern and cheerful with a hand-selection of mismatched chairs, tables, banquettes and lighting. You can also select from a vast array of more than 80 herb-infused varieties of gin.
Rua dos Bacalhoeiros 18A
1100-187 Lisboa, Portugal
+351 21 886 5039